It’s not every day that Vogue waxes rhapsodic about a bicycle helmet. But how great is it that fashion is promoting head protection for urban bicycle commuting? The subject of their admiration? The Fend collapsible bicycle helmet.
Designed by a New York City couple, Sujene Kong and Christian Von Heifner, and now on Kickstarter, the Fend takes aim at some of the barriers that prevent people from wearing helmets for around-town cycling: bulk, heat and appearance. The helmet’s proprietary joint system enables it to fold down, accordion style, to one third of its size for stash-and-go utility. Stream-lined vents and a plush interior promote breathability. And a minimalist design that channels a Scandinavian sensibility takes on the cool factor.
According to Vogue, it just so happens that Kong and Von Heifner possess an ideal combination of chops for rapid realization of their idea: Kong has a background in marketing and merchandising for brands that include Burberry, Saint Laurent and Jimmy Choo, and Von Heifner is an industrial designer and mechanical engineer.
The couple sketched out their “no more excuses” helmet within hours after a crash from which the helmet-less Von Heifner very luckily walked away unharmed. It left the couple, both avid cyclists, shaken but also energized to create a portable, breathable and good-looking product to encourage safety first among urban cyclists, including growing ranks of bike share users. Delivery of the helmets is due next summer.
Fend Collapsible Bicycle Helmet, $120 (pre-order savings available via Kickstarter)